Lilly expansion a ‘game changer’ for Lebanon, mayor says
The mayor of Lebanon says Eli Lilly and Co.’s (NYSE: LLY) announcement of an additional $1.6 billion investment in its planned drug manufacturing site is a “game changer” for his city.
The pharmaceutical giant on Monday broke ground on the project, which now totals $3.7 billion in investment and will anchor the LEAP Innovation and Research District and create a total of 700 jobs.
“It’s further proof that…we’re on the right path,” said Mayor Matt Gentry. “We’re super thrilled for Lilly and what that will bring economic-wise and opportunity-wise. We’re just really, really thrilled for the future here in Lebanon.”
After the groundbreaking ceremony, Gentry told Inside INdiana Business Host Gerry Dick have the state leading the LEAP District project is a unique situation.
“We actually can take a large amount of area and really master plan it, really try to gear it to make sure that it’s developed the right way,” Gentry said. “Instead of the community growing by 100 or 150 acres at a time, we really can take a larger vision, really make sure that it’s designed the right way that hits all the benchmarks that we want to see from community, and make sure that we can grow the right way in a controlled way. We want to be able to grow strategically.”
Lilly first announced plans for its presence in the LEAP District last year. Now, Lilly’s campus will include 13 buildings totaling more than 1.6 million square feet.
Gentry said the Lilly project is the latest in a series of investments in the city, including the Hickory Junction Fieldhouse youth sports complex and the Waterford, a 2,000-acre residential development that will include a golf course.
“There’s a lot of attention in Lebanon,” Gentry said. “We’ve laid the groundwork in the last 5-6 years. It’s coming to fruition today with all these announcements.”
Gentry said the challenge for him is how to manage the growth of a city that starting to see significant change and becoming part of the conservation in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.
“It’s all about how do we manage that going forward to make sure we we keep what we love our community, the charm, the feel, but also grow into it with more amenities and options for our residents.”
The mayor adds all of the recent projects, including Lilly’s initial investment, has led to greater interest from other developers.
“When you make these announcements, you start seeing interest from restaurants, retail, residential. I’m sure there are people tried to find ground all over Lebanon for their different projects. And so it’s just an indication that we’re on the right path, we’re heading the right direction, and people were excited for the future of Lebanon.”